“What is Mission”
Pastor Timothy Woodard
November 6th 2016
Hear now these words of scripture from the gospel according to Luke, Chapter 10, verses 27 thru 37.
27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, 34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Having heard these words, let us each strive to be good neighbors and “go and do likewise.”
As an introduction to this topic of “What is Mission” I want to begin by introducing us to the African philosophy of Ubuntu: “I am because we are.” It is so compelling in its ability to bring a seemingly complex conversation into a simple distinct statement.
This ‘Ubuntu’ is an idea present in African spirituality which says to us: “I am because we are.” Another way to state this is to say: we are all connected. Meaning of course: we cannot be ourselves without community. Our health and our faith are always lived out among others, in villages, in neighborhoods, and in social networks and fellowships!
This thought reaffirms the premise that an individual’s wellbeing is caught up in the wellbeing of others. Simply put: “when there are two of us together, we form a community.” Each one of us are in different stages, and we are each in various places, within the structure of this faith fellowship. However, without this gathering of like-minded Christians, without community, we would have no fellowship, and our places here would cease to exist. Yet, together, we shall continue to flourish well into the future. “I am because we are.”
Our speakers this morning, representing each of the individual, yet united, ministries of this church, they are going to tell us a bit of the mission of their ‘particular’ group. The combination of their short talks is what forms us as a faith fellowship and thus as a community.
My primary mission as the Pastor of this church, is for the spirituality of this church; through our Sunday worship services, as-well-as through pastoral guidance, care and counseling, preaching the Word, along with administering the sacraments. I am directly assisted by our Music Ministry, Our Spiritual Committee and our office staff. Likewise, I am connected directly with our Outreach Committee and Education Committee. Clearly, my mission is directly supported by the Compassion Team, Operations, along with the Stewardship of all and our Resources Committees. You see, it takes all the Ministries and our combined Missions to be a Church, to be a fellowship and this only works when we are in community with each other!
As I am representing the mission of our Sunday worship service, the teaching of God’s ‘Word’ and the ‘lifting-up’ of ‘God’s Spirit’ in the life and work of this our church, I shall leave you with a challenge from our morning’s scripture lesson. Within the accounting of the Good Samaritan, we hear how he was the only one who helped the man – who had been beaten and robbed, then left for dead beside the road. He helped with his own time, talents and treasure. In verse 37 of the narrative we hear: “The Lawyer responding to Jesus as to which of the three, (whom all had the opportunity to be of assistance to the man needing help,) which one of the three proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” The Lawyer said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” /Luke 10:27/ My prayer is that we shall each reflect on the missions of this our church and then say to ourselves “I Am Because We Are,” therefore, I shall go and do likewise! Amen.